Of all the amazing photos from yesterday’s #SolarEclipse2017, my favorite is not of the sun – but one of a little boy gazing up at it. His Mom, Mary, shared that her sweet son, Israel, had been in tears when he was told he couldn’t watch the eclipse (or, actually, the partial eclipse viewable from here in TX) because they didn’t have the special glasses to protect their eyes. But then as they were out running errands – the moment Mary captured with this photo happened.
And I can’t help but wonder…. if thousands of people from all different backgrounds can gather and be so quick to help each other experience a natural phenomenon that lasted a couple minutes, what would it look like if the same efforts ensued to help people make eternal connections with the #MAKER of that phenomenon and His #MostLovedCreation, other humans?
Jesus’ Leadership style:
He valued people. He communicated DIRECTLY and clearly to His #team members – a.k.a the Disciples. He didn’t depend on layers of bureaucracy and angels or assistants to send out memos or take messages so He wouldn’t actually have to deal with people Himself. He chose to live AMONG them not ABOVE them.
I highly recommend the free YouVersion reading plan, “Learning to Lead Like Jesus”. I just finished the short reading and video for day 1 and have gleaned so much already!
So… I have been thinking a lot about why we in our abundance-filled Western culture seem to be unhappy and struggling much of the time.
A couple things have recently helped me wrap my head around this a little bit more and got me thinking maybe we become so miserable because we are simply living life out of order.
We are designed to be still and centered on the inside (spirit and emotions) while being busy and productive on the outside (physical realm) in order to create more beauty in this world our Good Father God has left in our hands. The way I have gotten this beautifully-designed order all mixed up is by living much of my life with a busy mind and spirit (filled up with chatter, clatter, and worry) while my body has been motionless (stuck in the bed or on the couch practically paralyzed from stress and fear. Now I am learning the importance of staying spiritually and mentally in a state of rest, stillness, and “centeredness” while staying in a strong forward-press with the rest of me!
So what has been helping me learn recently to “flip-flop” my life operations back to a pattern of peace on the inside and productivity on the outside?
First, Derrick Golden, Pastor of my Amazing Church (yes, that’s really my church’s name – and for good reason!) in my beautiful city McKinney, Texas, has been teaching a series called Intentional Faith University (simply click the link to listen to the teaching) which has served as a timely reminder for me to focus on the faithfulness of my Father, God, rather than the seeming impossible obstacles that sometimes seem to close in on our lives.
Next, I make a point to surround myself with those who inspire and motivate me rahter than those who fill me with negativity that contradicts the truth my Father, God, has laid out in His Word (a.k.a. The Bible). And that includes being very selective about what I read and follow on social media.
But some social media contributors can be a very positive influence in your life. One of my favorite Instagram pages is @PlanetBossThings from the owner of Boss Things Apparel. And today this picture was shared on that page which went right along with all the motivation and inspiration Holy Spirit has been pricking my heart with lately.
So, I challenge you… I challenge me… let’s make our tomorrows different and better than our yesterdays by working hard to be still and settled on the inside while active and productive on the outside. I know it won’t be easy because it’s a new way of living and thinking. But I know it will be worth it.
So, this verse came up in my Bible reading today. And, as I often do when something moves me, I #GoogleIt. (I know…. you were expecting something deep like meditate or prophesy. But, no. You got Google 😉).
My Google search led me to the picture of the lovely crown you see here. But this picture became more meaningful because as I was Googling, I was listening to a prayer call by incredible inspirational teacher and Amazing Church #WorshipPastor, Barbara Calloway. She was talking about the #HolySpirit and specifically the importance of #unity.
Here’s something she said: “Break out of your comfort zone and decide you are going to be unified together”. As words and thoughts of unity hung in the early morning air, I continued to stare at the picture on my screen. As I looked at the beautiful crown, I realized that – although a pile of diamonds would be a site to behold – this artistic work of jewelry is so amazing and even more valuable because the individual stones have been crafted together into one beautiful masterpiece.
In the same way that the uncrafted pile of diamonds was easy and effort-free, the introverted and conflict-avoiding version of me finds it easier to stay a “lone diamond” capturing a little glimmer of my Father’s light all on my own. But if I press through past the awkward seasons and difficult conversations that are eventually and inevitably part of every healthy relationship, how much more beauty, value, and #GodLight will be reflected in the unified whole of so many different and precious individuals! I think we’ll find it worth the effort. And I think we already know that our God is so very worthy of being crowned with our beautiful unity.
Today I started posting on Instagram a short prayer to go along with the Scripture focus on my heart for the day. Feel free to join me in applying God’s Word and praying it back to our Good, Good Father. Here’s today’s post:Today’s #instaprayer is inspired by James 2:1-4. “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
I dare you to take this quick little challenge on YouTube to see if you get the correct answer. Few do. But more than just A #BrainGame, this is a great illustration of how easy it is to lose focus when there are distractions everywhere.
It also illustrates a beautiful spiritual truth: Just because we don’t see God in the midst of our situation doesn’t mean He’s not there waiting to be found if we only shift our focus off our circumstances and on to Him.
Know that you don’t have to go it alone.
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” – God (The Bible, Hebrews 13:5)